More such missteps could erode the administration's credibility on the economy, said McDonald, who worked in the White House under President George W. Bush in 2005.
"It would be a big risk for the White House to declare victory again," McDonald said. "Instead of the boy who cried wolf, it would be the president who cried jobs."
The healthier-than-expected job growth has brightened consumers' view of the economy. A gauge of consumer confidence surged in February to its highest point in a year, far above where it stood in October before the jobs and economic news improved. A more confident consumer is more likely to keep spending and driving further economic growth.
For consumers, expectations "color the perspective of what is a good number and what is not," McDonald said. When the job market's gains surpass forecasts, news reports seize on the improvements and help lift consumer sentiment.
Still, Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, cautions that consumers are still wary of the economic rebound, unsure if it will endure after previous false starts. Though most Americans now think the economy is recovering or will soon do so, about 40 percent still see the economy as "poor." That figure hasn't changed much in the past year.
The economy might have to consistently top expectations to solidify their confidence.
"Public confidence in the recovery is fragile," Kohut said. "I think they need to see more positive reports before their judgments about the future become markedly better."
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